31 October 2007
A site selection process has been agreed for another floating nuclear power plant in Russia. A 26 October meeting between the Republic of Sakha and Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) saw the Yakutia region proposed.
Sakha is the largest republic in the Russian Federation. In the Yakutia region it spans three time zones, but has less than one million inhabitants.
Rosatom said the agreement, signed by Sergei Kiriyenko and Sakha President Vyacheslav Shtyrov, was aimed towards developing an investment project for the construction of a floating nuclear power plant in order to support later infrastructure projects in the Arctic north of Sakha.
Currently the cost to generate electricity from imported fossil fuels in towns like Tiksi, Ust-Kuiga and Yurung-Khaya is 12 roubles per kWh ($0.49/kWh). By comparison, the hydroelectric dams that supply the south of Sakha generate power for 1.1 roubles per kWh ($0.04/kWh). Cross-subsidies largely level out the cost to consumers, but officials believe the high price of power to be a major limiting factor for development in the north where there are large mineral deposits and potential for a greater fishing industry.
The proposed solution is a barge-mounted nuclear power unit which would provide electricity and heat to settlements not currently connected to the grid.
Rosatom said the unit could employ ABV-6M reactors with a capacity of around 18 MWe to provide both electricity and heat. These were developed by OKBM and would be built at Zvezdochka Engineering Plant in Severodvinsk, near to the Sevmash facility where the first floating nuclear power plant is under construction. That unit is based on two KLT-40S reactors, as used in icebreaking ships, and will help to power the shipyard itself with 70 MWe.
The Sakha government and Rosatom both agreed to seek out investors to take part in a public-private partnership to complete the project and to begin feasibility studies and site investigations. Support has been secured from the Russian Investment Fund.
Officials expect to commission the power plant around 2013-5.